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Roger Bowers

(b c1420; d 1497). English church musician. He was noted as a fine singer and skilful organist. After service in the household of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester (until 1447), and as a lay clerk of Eton College (1447–51), where he was one of the four clerks specially responsible for singing polyphony in the college chapel, he became a clerk of the Chapel Royal in 1451, and Master of the Choristers there from 1455 to 1478. His duties included teaching the boys to play the organ and to sing plainsong and improvised polyphony; also it seems probable that he was instrumental in the introduction about this time of the use of boys’ voices in composed polyphony. The award to him in 1464 of a Cambridge MusB reflects his eminence in the musical profession – he is the earliest known recipient of this degree – while the patronage of Bishop Bekynton brought him valuable sinecures in the diocese of Bath and Wells. His last years were spent as a resident of Sanctuary Yard, Westminster Abbey....


Owen Wright

[ibn Ghaybī al-Marāghi]

(b Maragh; d Herat, 1435). Timurid composer, performer and theorist. He first rose to prominence in the service of the Jalā’irid rulers of Iraq and Azerbaijan, al-Ḥusayn (1374–82) and Aḥmad (1382–1410). After the conquest of Baghdad by Tīmūr (1393), most of his career was spent in Samarkand and, especially, Herat, at the courts of Tīmūr and of his successors al-Khalīl (1404–9) and Shāh Rukh (1409–47).

‘Abd al-Qādir was one of the most important and influential theorists of the Systematist school. His most substantial surviving works are the Jāmi‘ al-al ḥān (‘Compendium of melodies’), largely completed in 1405 and revised in 1413, and the slighter Maqāṣid al-al ḥān (‘Purports of melodies’), which covers essentially the same ground and probably dates from 1418. Written in Persian, which was by then the language of culture, these works proved particularly influential among later 15th-century theorists; but although both thoughtful and highly competent, on the theoretical side they may be regarded as, essentially, restatements and amplifications of the theory elaborated by ...


Isabel Pope

revised by Tess Knighton

(fl1482). Iberian composer. He was a singer in the Aragonese royal chapel of Ferdinand V over a period of almost 30 years, from 1482 until 1510. He was presented to various ecclesiastical benefices under royal patronage and held, presumably by proxy, the position of head chaplain of the Dominican monastery in Madrid until 1505.

He was also closely associated with Segovia Cathedral for the best part of his life, being appointed chapel master there from 1 October 1504. For some years he held both positions, but this must have proved incompatible for in the autumn of 1507 he was suspended from his post as chapel master for an unspecified breach of the rules and replaced by Francisco de San Juan. He remained a member of the chapter, however, and was much involved in cathedral business during long periods of absence from the royal chapel during the period ...


William F. Prizer

[Senese, Ser Ansano di Goro, Sano di Goro]

(b c1470; d 1524). Sienese composer, singer and priest. Ansanus can now be identified as Sano di Goro, the son of a Sienese wool shearer, who is first recorded as a clerk in the cathedral of Siena in March 1484. He joined the chapel as a chorister in 1485, and was ordained in 1500, by which time he was an adult singer. He was dismissed from the choir in 1507 after having written a bitter letter complaining about his treatment by the Opera of the cathedral. He returned to the cathedral's services, at least temporarily, from April 1511 to March 1512. In April 1515 he is again listed as a singer there, and thereafter was more or less permanently employed in the choir until February 1524, serving as maestro di cappella in 1517 and again from 1520 to 1524. He died at the end of 1524.

The sole source of his music is the ...


(b c1480–88; d after 1558). South Netherlandish composer and singer. The earliest known archival documents mention him in 1518 as a singer and in 1519 as the choirmaster at St Jacob in Bruges. After 1519, contemporary publications by Attaingnant and Moderne are the only source of evidence of his activity until February 1536, when he became a singer in Mary of Hungary's chapel choir in Brussels. Soon afterwards, in October 1537, he succeeded Jehan Gossins (who had died earlier that year) as master of the choirboys. In this function, which was indistinguishable from that of maître de la chapelle, Appenzeller served more than 15 years, composing many works for the Brussels chapel. The composer is last mentioned in Mary of Hungary's service in December 1551 in a list of chapel members who accompanied Mary to Augsburg and Munich. It would seem, however, that he continued to serve her until she relinquished her position in ...


Emilio Ros-Fábregas

(b Ecija, province of Seville, c1460; d after 1524). Spanish poet, vihuelist and composer. He was one of the leading Castilian poets of the generation of Juan del Encina; one of his poems received a response by Pedro de Cartagena, who died in 1485. His poetic style, quick-witted sallies and ingenious conceits were praised long after his death by Lope de Vega and Baltasar Gracián. His poetry is characterized by a desperate amatory vein in which suffering and death are always present. He is supposed to have been imprisoned for some time, owing to a madness brought on by an incestuous passion for a close relation, probably his sister. He is last recorded attending an imperial feast in Toledo in 1525.

The Cancionero General (Valencia, 1511/14/R, 2/1520/R) contains eight poems attributed to ‘Badajoz el músico’, and there are five villancicos and three canciones ascribed to ‘Badajoz’ in the ...


Joshua Rifkin

revised by Richard Sherr

[Hottinet], Houtinet, Hutinet, Jehan, Jean]

(b ?Montigny-le-Roi; fl 1510–23). French composer and singer. Under the name of ‘Jehan Barat’ he was an haut-contre at the Ste Chapelle, Paris, in 1510–12. As ‘Jean Barat dit Hottinet’ he was maître de chapelle of Langres Cathedral from 1512 to at least July 1514, and as ‘Hanotin Barra’ he returned to the Ste Chapelle in October 1523. In musical sources he is always ‘Hotinet’ or ‘Hotinet Barra’. Although some of his music is preserved in Italian sources, there is no reason to suppose he travelled to Italy. He must not be confused with Johannes Lomont [Zanin Lumon], called ‘Ottinet’, a singer from the diocese of Cambrai and member of the ducal chapel in Milan from 1473 until his death in 1493, who applied unsuccessfully for a transfer to the ducal chapel of Ferrara in 1479 and was provost of St Géry, Cambrai, from 1480 to 1489–91, residing there briefly in ...


Christoph Petzsch

revised by Martin Kirnbauer

(b Sülzbach, nr Weinsberg, Württemberg, 1420; d Sülzbach, 1472–9). German poet and Meistersinger. After training under his father, a weaver, he entered the service of the imperial chamberlain, Konrad von Weinsberg, as a singer (‘fürtreter’) in the 1440s. He named as his models Muskatblüt, whom he probably met in Konrad's household, and Heinrich von Mügeln. He performed his own songs mostly at royal and noble households in southern Germany in which he was employed: the court of Albrecht Achilles, Margrave of Brandenburg, in Ansbach (1449–53, interrupted by a Scandinavian journey that took him to Copenhagen and Trondheim); the Bavarian court in Munich (1453–4); the court of King Ladislaus of Bohemia in Prague and Vienna (1455–7); in Austria, for Duke Albrecht VI (1454, 1458) and at the court of the Emperor Frederick III in Vienna (1459–65); and finally the court of the Elector Palatine Frederick I (...


Michel Renault

(b in or near Le Mans, c1525–30; d after 1584). French lutenist and composer. According to La Croix du Maine (Les bibliothèques françoises de La Croix du Maine et de Du Verdier, Paris, 1772–3/R, ii, 11) he was working in Maine in 1584. His only known work was published in Paris in 1556 by Nicolas Du Chemin: the Premier livre contenant plusieurs motetz, chansons & fantasies reduictz en tabulature de leut (ed. M. Renault, Paris, 1976) which contains eight vocal transcriptions and seven fantasias. Six of the songs (by Arcadelt, Gentian, Certon, Pathie and Sandrin) are highly ornate, and show Belin to have been an accomplished virtuoso and a skilful elaborator of vocal polyphony. The other two transcriptions (a motet, Cantate Domino, and a song, Les bourguignons) are intabulated without ornamentation, and since they bear no indication of authorship it is possible that they are by Belin himself....



Pamela F. Starr

[Benedictus SiredeBenoctus de FranciaBenenoitBenedette di Giov. dito BenoitBenotto di GiovanniBenottus de Ferraria]

(fl 1436–55). French singer and composer. He was probably from the archdiocese of Sens in Haute-Bourgogne. His works appear in 15th-century musical sources under the name Benoit, but an authoritative papal document identifies him as Benedictus Sirede. He is first documented in 1436–7, as a singer for the confraternity of Orsanmichele in Florence. In 1438 he was recruited in Ferrara by Lorenzo de' Medici for the cathedral and baptistry choir of Florence, becoming choirmaster in 1439. He resigned from this position on 23 January 1448. From 1448 to 1450 he served in the chapel of Leonello d'Este in Ferrara; he was also a member of the papal chapel from December 1447 to February 1448, and again from January 1451 to October 1455.

Six works by Benoit survive, probably composed in the 1430s and 40s. All are in manuscripts copied in northern Italy during this period: I-Bc Q15, MOe...


[da Asti]

(b Asti, c. 1480; d before 1525). Soprano singer and composer, active in Italy. He was one of the most famous singers of his time; Castiglione described his manner of singing as one that was ‘so skilled, quick, vehement, impassioned, and has such various melodies that the spirits of his listeners are stirred and are so entranced that they seem to be uplifted to heaven’. Similar encomia can be found in other writings. A member of the Savoy chapel from 1500 to 1502, he was recruited to join the Ferrarese chapel in 1502 and stayed in Ferrara until he was lured to Rome by Leo X in 1516. He was first employed by the pope in some sort of private capacity, but had become a member of the papal chapel by 1519. He was not altogether happy in Rome, however, and made an attempt in 1517 to return to Ferrarese service which was rebuffed. He must have died before ...


Franz Krautwurst

revised by Beth Bullard

(b c1475; d between 1520 and 1532). German lutenist and composer. From September 1503 at the latest (probably earlier) he was court lutenist to Maximilian I; in this capacity he was in Augsburg in 1509 and 1518. He was made a citizen of Nuremberg on 5 August 1514; the document recording this event refers to him as ‘the good lute player’. In 1515 he was employed there for two years ‘so that he might with even more diligence teach young persons how to play the lute and other instruments’. As late as 1520 Dürer ranked him as one of the three best lutenists of his time in the inscription on the portrait of the Antwerp lutenist Captain Felix Hungersperger. In the early 1530s Hans Gerle spoke of him in Musica teusch (Nuremberg, 1532) and Tabulatur auff die Laudten (Nuremberg, 1533) as being dead.

Gerle was probably Blindhamer's pupil in Nuremberg: in the two treatises mentioned above he singled out Blindhamer for praise of his playing style, his skill in ornamenting, and his teachings on notating rhythms. By citing ‘so widely celebrated a master’ as being adept and successful within the conceptual framework of German lute tablature, Gerle defended his own use of this notation against its detractors, most notably Martin Agricola in his ...


Joshua Rifkin

revised by David Fallows

(b Picardy; fl late 15th century). French singer and composer. It is just possible that he is identifiable with the ‘Pierre Donnell’ or ‘Donelli’ reported at the court of King René of Anjou from 1462 to 1472 and again in 1479. But he certainly worked at the court of Savoy in 1488–9 and at both the cathedral and the convent church of the SS Annunziata in Florence in 1490–91 and 1492–3; later in the decade – perhaps from 1496 to 1499 – he sang in the chapel of Anne of Brittany, Queen of France. He had probably worked at the French court before, for he copied one of his chansons, Qu’en dictez vous, and added attributions for three others in I-Fr 2794, a manuscript almost certainly written at the court during the 1480s. In this source as elsewhere his works appear under his first name alone, which has led some writers to ascribe them to Pierre de La Rue or to Guillaume Pietrequin, a musician by whom no compositions survive....


Lewis Lockwood

revised by John T. Brobeck


(d shortly before Jan 22, 1512). French singer and composer. Several musicians were known by this sobriquet. Braconnier ‘dit Lourdault’ was a member of three important musical establishments of the late 15th and early 16th century. He entered the service of Duke René II of Lorraine no later than 1478, and was paid as a singer and canon of the ducal chapel of St Georges, Nancy, between 1485 and 1506. His service to René was not continuous, however, for in 1496 he was employed as a ténoriste in the chapel of Archduke Philip the Fair of Burgundy, whom he accompanied on his voyages to Spain in 1501 and 1506. By April 1507, after Philip’s death, Braconnier had joined the entourage of King Louis XII of France, who then was campaigning in northern Italy. French and papal documents from 1510–12 identify Braconnier as a singer and chaplain of the French royal chapel. He obtained numerous ecclesiastical benefices both in France and in the Low Countries, and his date of death may be estimated from records pertaining to the benefices left vacant by his demise....


(b ?Lowaige [now Lauw], Belgium, c1400–05; d before Oct 22, 1455). South Netherlandish composer and singer. The fact that he celebrated his first mass as a priest in 1426 suggests a date of birth of about 1400–05, while the designation ‘de Ludo’ sometimes appended to his name is thought to indicate that he was born in the village of Lowaige in the province of Limburg. Throughout his career he had close ties with Liège, where he held benefices at several churches. His earliest and most important connections were with the church of St Jean l'Evangeliste (from c1422) and the cathedral of St Lambert (from 1428), at each of which he for a time held the post of succentor. His associations with both institutions continued into the 1430s, and several of his motets were apparently composed for them. He visited Rome in the mid-1420s, and in ...


Lewis Lockwood

revised by David M. Kidger

(fl late 15th century; d before Feb 12, 1479). French singer and composer, active in Italy. In November 1471 he was listed under the name ‘fra Zoane de Franza cantadore’ among the first singers hired by Duke Ercole I d’Este of Ferrara for his newly founded court chapel. In the following year he is listed in court records as ‘fra Zoanne Biribis, maestro de cappella’. In 1473 Johannes Martini joined the Ferrarese chapel and took over the position of cantadore from Brebis. It is known that in 1472 Brebis was in debt to the Ferrara court exchequer, and that in 1475 a debt of this kind was partly cancelled through the intervention of Duke Ercole. He remained in service at the court until 1478, in which year Ercole made him archpriest of the parish church of Coccanile, in the Ferrarese contado. A notarial document of 12 February 1479...


David Fallows

[Breeu, Brawe] [Constans de Languebroek, Constans de Trecht]

(d 1481). Franco-Flemish singer and composer. He was chaplain in the Burgundian court chapel from December 1442 to 1479, and he also held a prebend ‘pro nobili’ at Cambrai Cathedral from 5 November 1451 to 17 November 1452 ( F-CA 1046, f.143v–144). In the 1460s he was listed as a member of the confraternity of St Jacques-sur-Coudenberghe at Brussels as ‘her Constans de senghere’ (see Pinchart). His nephew, Johannes Bouvart ‘de Tricht’ or ‘de Mastricht’, was in the Burgundian chapel from 1453 to 1476. (Languebroek, then, may have been north of Maastricht where a Langbroekbeek still exists, although Marix, 1939, suggested it was Langeboeken near Ghent.)

From November 1456 to December 1457 Hayne van Ghizeghem, a young boy and a protégé of the future Charles the Bold, was lodged at the home of Constans. The account books for subsequent years are lost, but Hayne may well have remained there and received his initial musical training from Constans. The two three-part textless pieces in ...


(b ?Noyon; d after 1521). French singer and composer. He described himself in an unpublished document (I-Rvat Archivio Segreto Vaticano, Registra supplicationum 1425, ff.24v–25r) as a cleric of the diocese of Noyon and as the illegitimate son of a priest and a single woman. As he is identified as a cleric of Noyon in other documents, he would appear to have been French, even though he once received a dispensation from Pope Leo X allowing him to take possession of benefices in Geneva and Lyons without being able to speak the language common in those dioceses (but as Bragard has pointed out, this may not have been the same French that was spoken in northern France). This would make it unlikely that he is the Antonio de Bruges who was a cantor da camera in the Milanese court in 1474. For a few months in ...



(b c1430; d shortly before Nov 6, 1492). French composer, singer and poet. He was the most prolific French composer of songs between Guillaume Du Fay and Claudin de Sermisy, and was widely acknowledged, along with Johannes Ockeghem, among the most outstanding composers of the second half of the 15th century.

The place and date of Busnoys' birth are unknown. In all likelihood he hailed from the tiny village of Busnes near Béthune (Pas-de-Calais) in the province of Artois. He could conceivably have been related to ‘Messire et maître Philippe de Busnes’, recorded as priest, dean and canon of Notre-Dame, Lens (about 30 km from Busnes), in 1499, a descendant of the noble counts of Busnes. Nothing is known of his early musical training, though he surely attended an ecclesiastical choir school, as did most late-medieval singers, probably in northern or central France.

Literary, musical and other circumstantial evidence points to Busnoys' activity in aristocratic circles surrounding the French royal court in the Loire valley by the 1450s, if not earlier. The recent re-attribution to Busnoys of the motet-chanson ...


Arthur J. Ness

(b Brescia, 1474; d ?Brescia, after 1548). Italian nobleman, lutenist and composer. He lived in Brescia in 1489, 1498 and again in 1548, and Gombosi surmised that he may have been the phenomenal Brescian lutenist who visited the court of Henry VIII in 1515. By 1517 he was in Venice, where between 1515 and 1520 one of his pupils prepared a lavishly illuminated manuscript of his music, the so-called Capirola Lutebook (now in US-Cn , facs., Florence, 1981), the most important document of Italian lute composition and playing from the decades between Petrucci’s publications of works by Spinacino, Giovan Maria, Dalza and Bossinensis (1507–11), and the first prints of Francesco da Milano’s music in 1536 (for facsimile, see Notation, fig.98).

Capirola’s music varies in difficulty from ‘easy little things’ for novices to works demanding great virtuoso technique. The manuscript comprises some 23 intabulations of vocal music of the type published by Petrucci between ...